It’s been a year of transition for Tim Sweeney. The American DJ and broadcaster took his long-running Beats In Space show to Apple Music, and this change seemed to inject fresh energy into the format. Joined a host of guests, the past 12 months have included countless highlights, epitomising the ongoing importance of Beats In Space as a platform.
With the year drawing to a close, Clash has been counting down our favourite albums from 2022. And it only seems right to invite Tim Sweeney to contribute, casting his gaze over 12 months of scintillating electronic music.
His picks range from newcomers to Chicago house pioneers, spanning the full reach of club culture in the process, with an emphasis on new ideas, and fresh innovation.
Au Suisse – Au Suisse
Morgan Geist can do no wrong! I keep waiting for him to release something terrible so I can quietly laugh with schadenfreude, but it never happens. For this project he teamed up with Kelley Polar on vocals and strings. They both met back in college when Morgan ended up in the first iteration of the Kelley Polar touring band, wearing a face-encompassing suit with one eye hole and a giant stryofoam mohawk. I pray we get to see a live version of Au Suisse one day, just to see the outfits. They also put together one of my favourite DJ mixes for Beats In Space this year.
Ron Trent – What Do The Stars Say To You
Ron Trent is one of the kings of Chicago house but this album showcases the range he has as a musician and how after 30 years of producing he’s still got his finger on the pulse.
Taking this record in a Balearic direction, Trent worked with guests like the ambient star Gigi Masin, psych-funk rock band Khruangbin, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and members of the Brazilian band Azymuth. It’s an album made for your hi-fi.
He told me during our Beats in Space interview that “when I was creating the album, I was definitely more in the frame of mind of creating these soundtracks for moments, especially being it was created around the time of pandemic. We were all sitting in our homes wanting to be somewhere else. And I did a lot of traveling in that way myself, creating moods and scapes that would be great to have in different moments.”
Axel Boman – ‘Luz’ & ‘Quest For Fire’
Boman was busy during the pandemic and now we get to hear everything. He told me that he “made this record in the absolute worst period that I’ve had in my life. Like a super, super stressful time.” But from that we get something beautiful that was inspired and motived by his daughter, Luz. In the end it’s classic Axel Boman: epic, leftfield, and raw.
Jack J – ‘Opening The Door‘
When I asked Jack earlier this year about the theme for his debut album he said “just the classic sort of getting on in years. Thinking about the past and the things, the places you’ve been. The people you’ve known. The things that have made you who you are and then how you’ve changed. How you think about yourself. How you’ve changed the way you think about the world.” He promised me “more music, more frequently” but I’m going to have to hold him to that because I haven’t heard anything yet!
Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul – ‘Topical Dancer’
I love a sarcastic sense of humor and these two use theirs to the fullest on their debut album. Picking each others brain, joking around and plunging into racism, sexism and self-doubt. Charlotte told me what she enjoyed about working with Bolis:
“We’re not really genre-bound. And I know when I would make him listen to the PJ Harvey songs that really inspired me, he would understand, and he’d interpret it in the same way I would, or we’d make something out of it that we know we both like. We’re so much on the same page that, yeah, we could express it in different genres and in different ways of working.”
They met while working for Dave and Steph Dewaele from 2ManyDJ’s/Soulwax (who also produced Topical Dancer). When I asked about what they had learned from Dave and Steph, Charlotte said “to really dig deeper and really find the essence and the purest intention behind what you write or what you make, the story, why you want to tell that story. And that’s, yeah, I think we did that well with the album.“
Fort Romeau – ‘Beings Of Light’
I loved the New York influence on this record from Fort Romeau. When we were talking at the beginning of 2022 he told me it was about “this kind of romanticized idea of what New York used to be. And I think that New York for a lot of people is something that exists in our imaginations as much as it does in real life, right? It kind of represents a lot of these ideas about kind of freedom, creativity, and cosmopolitan, multicultural. And while it is all those things, I think that we always kind of look back on times and places in the past and think, oh man, if only we’d been in New York or in London. If we had been in London in 1963, or we had been in New York in 1978, you know what I mean? I kind of like this idea that New York almost represents our ultimate idea of a city as much as it is a city in itself.”
Junior Boys – ‘Waiting Game’
I had this album on constant rotation at home. It feels like an album version of ‘Moments In Love’ by Art Of Noise. Something beautiful and stretched out that can be listened on repeat. There’s nothing on here for the dancefloor but perfect for the wind down.
As a bonus, Tim has also pieced together this excellent playlist featuring some of his favourite tracks from these albums.
Listen to Beats In Space and the DJ mixes on-demand on Apple Music at apple.co/_BeatsInSpace.